Nursing is one of the most noble jobs out there. It takes an individual who cares, truly and empathetically. Nurses are the closest to patients, the ones always available to make their pain a bit more bearable. They’re the ones who notice the first signs of distress and the first to catch if there’s something wrong with their patients.
As it is with every other job, however, the field of competition is becoming stronger and stronger with each passing day. If you’re not as keen on advancing your nursing career as your peers are, you’ll soon find yourself out of the competition.
Here’s how you can advance your nursing career to stay on top of your game:
1Focus on your education
There’s never enough you can learn, even if you think you’ve reached a pretty good level. There’s always the next level and that is never too far away for you to reach. And there’s also no such thing as not having time to pursue an education alongside work.
If you plan it correctly, you can study for an associate degree while keeping your work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Then,, you can pursue your bachelor degree as a working Registered Nurse (RN). You can even fit your education time to your tight schedules and prepare for a credentialed mental health nurse certificate on SCU Online.
2Pursue professionalism in your life
The way you carry yourself around makes a huge difference on how others build impressions about you. Always make sure to be professional in your demeanor as it makes you more trustworthy.
Keep your work ethics, passion, empathy, patients’ confidentiality, honesty and mutual respect as principles you live by. Do it even on your personal life and personal social media existence. You’ll be surprised how employers and patients alike would judge you based on your personal life.
3Build the right networks
It’s all about the connections you make and the network you build. Going out of margins of your workplace and meeting new people will widen your knowledge, offer you the opportunity to exchange ideas and get a closer look at how others deal with the same problems you’re facing.
4Build relationships with mentors
Having a mentor whom you respect and seek for advice will make a huge difference in your career and career choices alike. Try to build connections with people you think of as role models and never shy away from asking for their advice. It gives them as much of an inspiration as it offers you with the insight and experience you need.
5Work according to a plan
It’s very easy to find a comfortable workplace and decide to settle in. It’s also very easy to get lost in that comfort and forget what you wanted to do next. Work out a plan for your career and make a goal of what you want to reach in a year, in five years, and in ten years.
Remember to keep checking your goals and check off the milestones off your list.
Navigating Your Way Through the Nursing Career
Whether you’re just starting as a nurse, been practicing for a while or you’re still contemplating on the nursing career path you want to follow, you’ll need to know all of the nursing degrees in the ladder. It’s also useful to know all of the options you can have in different nursing specialties. You’ll be able to plan your education and work-life accordingly, based on informed decisions.
Nursing Career Education & Certifications
1. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Sometimes referred to as Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN), the LPN degree usually takes one year after secondary education to complete. It’s the most basic degree and the fastest to acquire. After completing the course, you’ll be eligible to take on the NCLEX-PN examination which is a state-administered exam to get your nursing practicing license.
2. Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
The ADN program gets you into the practical field more than just theories, to get some hands-on experience in your nursing practice. If you haven’t been practicing as an LPN/LVN nurse, have family or work obligations, and want to quick-start your nursing career, this program will help you do just that. It takes around two years for completion and you’ll be able to find weekend or night-time courses to enroll in.
3. Registered Nurse (RN)
If you’ve completed a nursing diploma or acquired your ADN degree, passed your NCLEX-PN examination, and met the nursing licensing requirements of your state, you’re a Registered Nurse.
4. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
In today’s job market, it might hard for you to get a chance to compete unless you hold a BSN degree. A BSN degree takes four years to complete, with much more time required and complexity than basic LPN/LVN or ADN degrees. When you acquire your BSN degree, you’re officially on your way to professional nursing practice.
5. Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
An MSN program takes you deeper into much more advanced curriculum. It allows you to specialize in a certain nursing field. While it takes less time than a BSN to complete, usually around two years, it needs much more focus and time-commitment to go through the advanced course material. After completing an MSN program, you’ll get the chance to share with the doctors the way they care for patients.
6. Doctorate Nursing Degree Programs
Acquiring a Doctorate degree will take you on a whole other level in your nursing career. A Doctorate Nursing Degree will prepare you for advanced and high-level careers in advanced clinical practice, health administration or even clinical research. It takes a huge commitment on your part, however, as it usually takes from four and up to six years of education to get your degree.
Different Nursing Specialities
There are around a hundred different specialties you can work at as a nurse. Some of the nursing specialties you can pursue:
- Certified Nursing Assistant: under the supervision of an LPN/LVN or a RN, they can provide care for patients in different medical settings. It can give you more insight into the nursing field and prepare you for an ADN degree.
- HIV/AIDS Nurse
- Radiology Nurse
- Public Health Nurse
- American Cross Nurse
- Nutrition and Fitness Nurse
- Oncology Nurse
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Nurse
- Plastic Surgery Nurse
- Rehabilitation Nurse
- Labor and Delivery Nurse
- Burn Care Nurse
- Pediatric Home Care Nurse
- Forensic Nurse
- Geriatric Nurse
- Rural Nurse
- Emergency Room Nurse
- Surgical Nurse
- Intensive Care Unit Nurse
- Epidemics Research Nurse
Always Seek More
Once it starts to feel comfortable, that’s when you know you need to take it to the next level.
Research the advanced certifications you can pursue, the different tracks you want to try out, and the various work environments you’d like to join. Keep trying and walking further up the ladder until you find what it is you’re meant for, and then be the best at it.
They say you can be anything you want, so why can’t you be everything you can be?